Podcamp Halifax 2012: WordPress Workshop

I’m running the following session at the Podcamp Halifax unconference today:

WordPress Workshop

After a 5 min intro including what’s new in the latest release of WordPress (and what’s coming in the next version), I’ll ask attendees what they’d like to hear. Do you want me to show you how to install WordPress? Maybe you’d like to hear what a child theme is? How about some awesome WordPress plugins? It’s like a choose your own adventure, but with WordPress instead of dragons.

The following are my notes for the session. There are no slides.

Tweet your questions, comments, etc to me @bradt and I’ll answer them during the session. If I run out of time, I’ll answer the rest on Twitter afterward. Don’t forget to tag your tweets #podcamphfx so everyone can find them.

What is WordPress?

  • Web Software
  • Free, open source
  • Publishing system
  • Content management system (CMS)

What does a WordPress web site look like?

Why is WordPress popular?

What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

  • .org – a project of the WordPress Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to developing the WordPress software and supporting its community
  • .com – a for profit corporation offering free WordPress hosting and makes money by selling domain names and other upgrades

Why wouldn’t you always go with WordPress.com over hosting it yourself?

  • Far less flexible
  • Limited list of installable themes
  • No plugins
  • No ecommerce.

Where can I get WordPress web hosting?

What’s new in the latest WordPress 3.3 release?

  • User experience improvements (new toolbar, flyout menus, pointer tips, etc)
  • Welcome screens for new users and when you upgrade
  • Drag and drop uploader (no more Flash!)
  • For Developers: New editor API, jQuery 1.7

How do I properly setup WordPress after installing?

  1. General Settings: Update tagline and timezone
  2. Discussion Settings: Turn comments on/off
  3. Permalinks: “Month and name” is a good option for SEO-friendly links
  4. Appearance: Settings depend on theme

How do I change the home page to a content page instead of a list of posts?

  • Create two new pages, one named “Home” and one named “Blog”
  • Go to Settings > Reading
  • Change “Front page displays” to “A static page”
  • For the “Front page” choose “Home”, for the “Posts page” choose “Blog”
  • Add whatever content you like to your the “Home” page

How do I install a theme through WordPress’s built-in directory?

  • Go to Plugins > Add New.
  • Search.
  • Click “Install Now”.
  • Activate.

How do I install a theme I downloaded from a web site?

  • Go to Plugins > Add New > Upload.
  • Choose the file you downloaded.
  • Click “Install Now”.
  • Activate.

Where can I find quality themes?

Where can I find quality plugins?
The following plugins are all free except when stated otherwise.

  • Akismet* – prevent comment SPAM
  • Disqus* & IntenseDebate* – (free & paid packages) comments with social features
  • WordPress SEO* – define all your title tags, generates Google XML Sitemap, etc
  • Google Analytics for WordPress* – very handy when using Google Analytics
  • bbPress* – fully featured forums
  • BuddyPress* – turns WordPress into a social networking site
  • WPTouch* – (free & paid versions) adds a mobile-friendly version of your site
  • WordTwit* – (free & paid versions) automatically send tweets
  • ProPhoto* – (paid only) excellent plugin for photographers
  • JetPack* – bundle of useful plugins from Automattic
  • Gravity Forms* – (paid only) beautiful form building without any coding
  • JigoShop* & WooCommerce* – online store plugins
  • AddThis* – add social media sharing widgets to your posts and track use
  • Events Calendar* – (free & paid versions) great calendar plugin
  • Backup Buddy* – (paid only) backup, restore, and migrate
  • ScribeSEO* – (paid only) helps you write content that is more search engine friendly
  • WPML – (paid only) for multilingual sites
  • Subscribe to Comments* – allows your commenters to subscribe to email notifications of follow up comments
  • W3 Total Cache* – speeds up your WordPress site

* Can be found by searching WordPress’ built-in plugin directory for the plugin name.

How do I hire a web designer or web developer to build my WordPress site?

What does it cost to build a WordPress web site?